It has not quite hit Hollywood levels of drama yet but a town's cinema saga is showing little sign of reaching its conclusion.

Those hoping for a cinema in Wymondham looked set to be left disappointed but it has emerged that plans for a major regeneration project of the town's station area are behind the delays.

Plans for the dilapidated Old Goods Shed were first submitted to South Norfolk Council and approved in 2019.

However, the Covid pandemic halted progress and, although an updated planning application suggested that the cinema would be opening in the first part of 2024, the site remains derelict.

Norwich Evening News: The Goods Shed Cinema is still in the pipelineThe Goods Shed Cinema is still in the pipeline (Image: BCA Ltd/ Whitworth)

Wymondham's mayor Suzanne Nuri-Nixon, who is a district and town councillor, said last month: "I believe the project had stalled, if not been abandoned, during the pandemic."

However, Bill Chew, director of Filmhaus, the company behind the regeneration of the Old Goods Shed, has said that plans for a cinema are most definitely still in the pipeline, despite the delays due to complications.

He said: "A cinema acts as a focal point in a community drawing people into town.

"Once established it can act as a catalyst for regeneration to bring prosperity to a market town such as Wymondham. 

Norwich Evening News: The cinema is set to have two screens, as well as a cafe and barThe cinema is set to have two screens, as well as a cafe and bar (Image: BCA Ltd/Whitworth)

"The intention of Filmhaus Cinemas Ltd, the company behind The Good Shed Cinema project, is to try and create a unique and contemporary cinema environment within the shell of the refurbished grade II listed railway shed. 

"Film programming will be aimed at all sections of the community for young and old and comprise a curated selection of commercial releases, art house cinema, children’s films, ‘live’ opera and music (including encores), anime and non-fiction films.

"There will additionally be a 45-cover cafe/bar as well as a meeting room for community use and local hire."

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However, plans and negotiations are ongoing as South Norfolk Council looks to regenerate the area around Wymondham Station.

In a project called the Wymondham Station Approach scheme, South Norfolk Council has developed a plan for improving the area, potentially using compulsory purchase orders (CPOs).

Norwich Evening News: The plans will keep the exterior of the station in keeping with its original characterThe plans will keep the exterior of the station in keeping with its original character (Image: BCA Ltd/Whitworth)

A South Norfolk Council spokesman said: "South Norfolk Council has identified the need for regeneration around Wymondham Station.

"Early project planning includes making it easier to walk and cycle from the station to the town centre and nearby trails, improving bus links, making roads for safer access, moving a car park, enhancing access at the station, and building new shops, offices and up to 90 homes.

"Importantly, this could make the area around the station more welcoming and include the renovation of the Goods Shed.

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"To make all this happen, the council might need to use special powers that only government bodies have.

"This could mean buying land around the station through compulsory purchase. Significant efforts will be made to secure any land through negotiation first."

Norwich Evening News: Wymondham Station is set for regenerationWymondham Station is set for regeneration (Image: Newsquest / Sonya Duncan)

With the Old Goods Shed right next to the station site, the grade II-listed building is also caught up in the negotiations, but Mr Chew has confirmed that the plans for the cinema are still being discussed.

The cinema is expected to provide employment for about 14 people in both full-time and part-time positions, and the exterior of the building will remain in keeping with its original character.

Wait goes on

Wymondham has not had a cinema for many years now, but from 1917 silent films were shown in the old Public Hall in Town Green, known as the Picture Theatre.

It was the town’s only cinema until the Regal - a single-screen cinema in Friarscroft Lane - opened in 1937.

The Regal was open for five decades but closed in June 1993 and Wymondham hasn't had a cinema screen since.